A Chinese export dinner plate, c 1750, of what is termed Nanking type. The plate was made during the first 15 years of the Qianlong period (1736-1795) of the Qing dynasty. In fact, this particular plate was part of the famous Nanking shipwreck cargo, and was one of the items auctioned at Christie's in 1986.
Painted in underglaze blue, a Chinese garden scene is depicted, with a hollow rock, fence, bamboo tree, and flowers. Scenes such as this served as inspiration for most of the English porcelain factories in the 18th century.
The plate is 9 inches in diameter and has no restoration or cracks (which is very, very unusual, in that most in the cargo were damaged and many had barnacles or the ilk attached). There is a truly miniscule chip at the edge of the rim at 1:00 o'clock, which mostly has to be felt, rather than seen. It has the original Christie's auction sticker with the lot number.
The Nanking cargo is the most famous of the shipwreck cargoes. It attracted world wide media attention when it was auctioned by Christie's Amsterdam in April 1986. The ship's name was "The Geldermalsen", belonging to the Dutch East India Company, formally known as the Verenigde Oost Indische Compagnie (V.O.C). She set sail from Canton on December 18th 1751, bound for Amsterdam, with a Jan Morel as captain. Unfortunately, due to a navigational error, the ship hit a reef in the South China Sea and sank 16 days after setting sail. The valuable cargo consisted of over 160,000 pieces of porcelain, tea, raw silk, textiles and one hundred and forty five gold ingots. The cargo was recovered by Captain Michael Hatcher and his team in 1985-86, shipped to Amsterdam and sold two hundred and thirty four years after being sent. And you guys think the postal service is bad.